DEFEA 2023 – Greece is among top export customers for MBDA

Paolo Valpolini

Recent contract signed by the Greek MoD for naval and air platforms carried with them a considerable business for MBDA, the European missile company, putting Greece among its top export customers

With MBDA missiles arming furore Greek FDI frigates and the Rafale fighter planes, MBDA is looking with interest at the outcome of the bid for new corvettes for the Hellenic Navy. The two main players fighting for this contract are Naval Group and Fincantieri, respectively with the Gowind and the FCx30 corvettes. What is already established is that both solutions will see the anti-ship missiles segment awarded to the la test version of the Exocet missile.

What remains still under discussion seems the air defence segment. Here MBDA is proposing two different solutions, one based on the CAMM ER and one on the VL MICA. However in this field MBDA has a competitor, in the form of Raytheon’s Evolved Sea Sparrow, which already equips the four Meko 200HN (Hydra-class) frigates, while the original Sea Sparrow equips the nine Kortenaer (Elli-class) frigates. As for the new FDIs (Kimon-class) these will be armed with 32 Aster 30 B1 missiles.

The preferred bidder for the three new corvettes should be announced in a relatively short time, following the Greek political elections planned for May 21st.

Talking of the FCx30, MBDA Italy is looking at an Italian oriented configuration based on an Aster/CAMM ER air defence and Marte ER/Teseo Mk2/E anti-ship solutions to be proposed as a package for the export market.

MBDA is also looking with interest at some further naval opportunities in Greece, coming from elder platforms upgrade programmes.

Switching to air-launched missiles, during DEFEA MBDA announced the signature of a contract with the Greek MoD for the mid-life refurbishment of SCALP (Système de Croisière Autonome à Longue Porte, long range autonomous cruise system) missiles in service with the Hellenic Air Force on its Mirage 2000-5 and Rafale fighters. The first missiles were part of the order for Mirage 2000-5, first aircraft entering service in 2004, a further batch being part of the weapon package for Rafale orders signed in 2021 and 2022. This refurbishment contract includes the procurement of mission planning products, maintenance and technical assistance. This upgrade will prolong the operational superiority of the SCALP against future threats.

Today MBDA considers Greece among its top export customers, and therefore on Day 3 of DEFEA the European missile company officially inaugurated its new permanent office in Athens. “Through this permanent presence of MBDA in Athens, we intend to increase our local investments in Greece and to partner with Greek institutions to continue to deliver key sovereign capabilities that provide the best solutions to meet the requirements of the Hellenic Armed Forces customer, Eric Béranger, MBDA CEO said at the ceremony. Greece was the first customer for the Exocet missile in 1968, relationship between the predecessor entities of today MBDA and Athens dating therefore back over half a century.

Photo by P. Valpolini